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Five Contemporary Finds at AIPAD 2018

April 8, 2018 - Kat Kiernan

Hunters and Hustlers: Feminism and Theatricality in Suzy Spence and Heather Morgan

February 15, 2018 - Wen Tao

A major element of early feminist art criticism came down to detective work. Outing the male gaze in paintings of female subjects was akin to using black light to reveal traces of blood at a crime scene. Form, facture and viewpoint served as evidence in a forensic process – manifestations of objectification, voyeurism and idealization were exposed.

Nowadays, the crime scene is complicated, especially where female authorship is concerned. In paintings of women by women, thanks to a sense of intimate self-knowledge, what has begun to emerge are emphatic – indeed, empathetic – attempts to maneuver the inherent theatricality of being subjected to the gazed. The subject can become complicit and resigned to being a displayed object, or lay out an elaborate performative trap in which the unaware spectator devours the bait. Two current shows present different but equally intriguing examples of such maneuvering: Suzy Spence’s A Night Among the Horses, ongoing at Sears Peyton Gallery in Chelsea, and Heather Morgan’s Heavenly Creatures, at David Schweitzer Gallery, last month, in Bushwick.

Suzy Spence: A Night Among the Horses

January 24, 2018 - William Corwin

Suzy Spence is not afraid to go where our darker thoughts wander when we think of the regalia and and ritual of the hunt. Amidst the overt presence of violent death, the gnashing of the hounds' teeth, and the sweaty flanks of the steeds is the other primal urge of sex.

Both males and females don the plumage of pink coats and top hats in an aristocratic dance of seduction, but in this case the artist has chosen to lampoon the male gaze by pushing the fetishization of the woman hunter into the wider zone of sexualized object. The Optimist (2017) and Untitled Riders (2017) present huntresses in various states of dishabille, while Death by Black Horse II (2017) doubles as both a bloody trampling of a rider and a retelling of Pasiphae and the bull. The loose and fluid brushstrokes of the monochromatic flashe works lend a witty spontaneity reminiscent of Thomas Rowlandson's pithy caricatures, while the polychrome pieces are darker and a bit more stiff-upper-lip.

More Women in the Art World: Karen J. Revis

January 17, 2018 - Or Does it Explode

THE LIST: Suzy Spence at Sears-Peyton

January 11, 2018 - David Cohen

Luxuriance is more than a painterly quality in the work of Suzy Spence. It is a symbolic form. Bravura paint handling conveys the very sense of sport that is her motif in images of the hunt. Riders throw themselves with panache into the chase without attendant loss of elegance or control. Their very sweat is decorous in an almost heraldic balance of vitality and poise. There is a corresponding dialectic in Spence’s attitude towards her subject matter. Her catalogue essayist, Amy Rahn, deftly describes the feminist and class critique at the heart of her gender-bending approach while equally acknowledging her personal investment in riding, her participation in the culture that she observes. “The way these paintings slip—between genre and critique of genre, between a love of the sartorial poses of foxhunting and a critique of their masculine power, and between portraiture and figurative painting—give us a glimpse of something dark and rich that hammers the ground between critical thought and sensuous painting.” The full throttle romance of “the drag” (the term for hunting with a substitute fox segues sexily into the fey innocence of Spence’s idealized sorority of latter-day Artemises) speaks to an artist who hunts with the hounds and runs with the hares. DAVID COHEN

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Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Today

September 28, 2017 - Haggerty Museum of Art

The Refugee Trilogy is a suite of large-scale charcoal drawings by Connecticut-based artist Rick Shaefer. The works employ the visual language of Baroque painting to express–in a language both familiar and historical–the plight of contemporary refugees, and the persistence of this epic human tragedy across time. The three triptychs, each measuring 96" x 165", are exhibited in a chronology suggested by news reports. Land Crossing, the first of the three, addresses the hazardous journeys faced by refugees fleeing war, famine, drought, or other causes. The second work, Water Crossing, portrays the perilous journeys across open water. The third work, Border Crossing, addresses the conflicts and hostilities faced at borders. In addition to the three triptychs, the exhibition includes seventeen preparatory drawings. In an interpretive space adjacent to the exhibition, visitors may watch short video interviews with Marquette University faculty members–from areas ranging from law to nursing to history–who work on the subject of refugees. Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy was organized by the Fairfield University Art Museum

Maysey Craddock 'Riverine'

September 14, 2017 - Wall Street International

Maysey Craddock's 'Riverine’ at Sears Peyton Gallery, New York

August 17, 2017 - Blouin ArtInfo

Sears Peyton Gallery will be hosting Maysey Craddock’s “Riverine,” a solo exhibition by Maysey Craddock at the gallery’s venue at New York. This will be the artist’s fourth solo exhibition in New York.

While the politicians debate over border issues and discuss the vices and virtues of securing the national borders, Craddock focuses on the fragility of the natural boundaries present around us. The works in this exhibition explore the natural boundaries such as the wild natural shores that divide the land and the sea, the rivers, deltas, the coastlines that are continuously shaped and reshaped by the sea, storm, and mankind. In each of her works, she traces trees, ragged alluvial trailings with delicate strokes on pieced paper surfaces that are stitched together with silk threads. Craddock portrays these natural borders as radically provisional and delicate spaces that are alive with continuous adaptation and regeneration. According to the artist, men perceive land as solid and immutable with heavy and dense edges and borders. However, what they fail to realize is that it changes drastically, especially the coastlines that are vulnerable to change. Craddock’s creative processes rhyme with the idea of making and unmaking her work. She takes photographs of the riverbanks and shorelines before fracturing the photos into abstracted motifs that she adopts into her paintings. 

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